Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Celebrating Our Lady in Song

L-R: Karen, Harriet, Julian, Anita, Fr. Charles with Fr. Andrew at the piano
Photo Janet Franklin

Ann Lardeur from the parish of The Nativity of the Lord reports:
The Fabulous Five of last summer morphed into The Superb Six for another magnificent concert in Holy Family Church, Reigate, on 8th December, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Julian Stocker, Lay Vicar at Westminster Abbey and his wife Karen, Anita Pinnock, Frs Charles Howell and Andrew Moss were joined by Merstham’s own soprano, Harriet Hunter. Harriet is newly married to Martin Rawles, organist at Litchfield Cathedral, but she will always be Merstham’s own special voice.

In honour of the Feast “Ave Maria” featured twice, Schubert and Bach/Gounod compositions. Advent was celebrated by Fr. Charles singing the recitative “For behold darkness shall cover the earth” followed by the aria “The people that walked in darkness” from Handel’s Messiah. Harriet and Julian sang “The Prayer” made famous by Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli; Fr Andrew and Julian became Crosby & Bowie for “Little Drummer Boy”. Harriet also sang a delightful French carol, “Quelle est cette odeur agreable”.

Anita’s unique contribution was jazz reworkings of the carols “O Come all ye faithful” and “Once in Royal David’s City”. We were moved by John Rutter’s “Shepherds left their flocks a-straying” performed by Harriet, Anita, Julian and Frs Charles and Andrew. The unsung, but not unapplauded, heroine of the evening was Karen Stocker accompanist for most of the numbers. The finale was the riotous “Hail Holy Queen” from Sister Act.

A group of young people, led by Debs Puttick, spoke of their experience at World Youth Day. The donations are going towards financing youth projects and pilgrimages. For the same cause £355 was raised at an Evening of Christmas Cheer.

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